Saturday, January 12, 2013

My Mom part 2

This is when she retired from teaching. 

Here is a part of a letter my mother teletype to a professor at Cal. Berkley that I have tried to piece together and others...  that highlights some of here Red  Cross /and she taught US military elementary school children 1-6 grade in Berlin for families station in Berlin close to the fence line, though she said the Russian guards were friendly 
    Dear Mr. Ravers;                                                         December / Berlin     1950

     A new year always make me take stock ... of things - - - and of the people who have done so much... past - - - A deal of good water has churned around in a number of seas since I took pen in hand or typewriter to task to send you my best wishes, but as the end of this middle mark of the century dawns. I become cognizant as never before of a fraction of my failings. 

November 1950 brings with it a kaleidoscope of memories collections of things of sight, sound, smell, taste and feeling - -- not the kind of things with tags that one would likely to recall - - but flashes back to momentary impressions that become imbedded somehow. 

1945 - - the first, first hand sight and feeling about war - - real war - - the lived in and through kind - - Pier 6 -- ' 'twas no pier at all - - a skeleton of hulls and masts of war torn steeds in the heat, dirt, destruction and deprivation that was Manila.

- - - the typhoon, tossed mud that as Okinawa and the first Marine Divisions crosses row and row. 

- -  a group of lonely guys in a bare, bitterly cold barracks in Kanoye - - tough guys begging  for news of home as they awaited the approach of December 25th - - tears coursing unashamedly down battle bruised faces as the sweet clear notes of the untarnished voice of a gal from home obligingly sang one request after another and ending with a White Xmas - - no prima-donna ever had the thunderous heartfelt applause that Mary did as that group swallowed and smiled their thanks. 

- - Xmas in the air and the prettiest tree I shall ever see stood propped in its fullest dead twig height between dirty craft teletype machines in-route to Japan,glittering with torn bits of paper rosy with the glow of nail polish and precariously balanced by the grace of well chewed gum - - - and the Christmas feast spread out on the ground beside the still warm plane as we drank hot, dusty cokes (the crew's most prized possessions - - in a world where the coin of the realm were mere baubles on a string) - - - as we toasted the Yuletide and the future we looked out upon the gray world of destruction and rice paddies.

   and being kidnapped that same Christmas Eve by a gang of guys that wanted a bit of talk of home - - - guys who promised to feed us - - - it had been o many hours since we had last had a taste of food - - - many hours later and by almost super human efforts they managed to produce some very dead fried eggs and hunks of bread - - - not a festive fare but we swallowed it gratefully and graciously - - - when we ever be more important guests at a banquet which represented the best that they had - - not .... But given in full 

.... and now across another pond lies a world in which life was real, and life is earnest, and the coins of the real are precious bits of bauble that melt to fast to bother to string. 

   My daily life is concerned with something as American as the penny, hot dog and Statue of Liberty Inc. American kids in a foreign clime, kids who have experienced much, seen more, the Blockade, Operation Vittles, they have been fed and kept warm for months by that life line of planes constantly take ing off day and night, they've ridden foreign trains, admidst knapsacks, wicker suitcases, clucking hens. They've had the thrill of ocean voyages and foreign flights. They have lived in the Hans Christian  Anderson Germany of pint sized fräulein s herding waddling web footed fowls through cobble stone streets. They have spiraled their way on foot to the top of the worlds highest towers, viewed cathedrals by the score years ago royalty held court. 

    In the Alps they have joined in songs sung by yodeling groups of rucksacked natives, equipped with canes picks and climbing ropes. They have seen in the moonlight and at dawn the lovely white Lady, the pearl , the aloof, towering, domineering work of nature who sits serenely while wisps of fleecy clouds play gracefully around her shoulders. 

  They have seen the White Tower and felt some of the fascination she holds for those skilled with rope and picks,  who climbing to the heights look down on the village of chalets where cows and sheep ample through the streets in herds early in the morning with their tonal bells clanging as they climb to their day's pasture. 

 They've seen Southern Italy and Naples, land of the orange, olive, grape and the beautiful blue bay with its good size town nestled close to the shore with the night lights forming a necklace for the throat of the bay. 

They have seen this and multitude more- - - and more they have felt- - destruction, poverty, starvation,  bitterness,  envy, oppression. They are proud and happy that they are Americans (and not I hope, smugly so) They have learned to Parly Vou and Sprecchhen 

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